Ernest Ulrich, owner of Port City Cafe, thought an employee was calling in sick when the phone rang bright and early Monday, but, no, Fox & Friends was on the line.
Todd Piro, a Fox & Friends correspondent, will talk with customers at the Biloxi cafe Tuesday morning, after President Donald Trump’s rally scheduled for 8 p.m. Monday at the Coast Coliseum on U.S. 90.
Trump is speaking in Tupelo before he heads to Biloxi to rally support on election runoff eve for Republican Senate candidate Cindy Hyde-Smith, who has suffered state and national backlash over remarks caught on video at campaign stops in North Mississippi.
In the runoff, Hyde-Smith faces Democrat Mike Espy, a former U.S. representative and secretary of agriculture. Gov. Phil Bryant appointed Hyde-Smith, former state senator and Mississippi commissioner of agriculture, to serve out the unexpired term of Sen. Thad Cochran.
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Ulrich isn’t the only one making plans ahead of Trump’s visit. The Mississippi Rising Coalition, formed to fight the Confederate flag and racism in Mississippi, is planning a protest on the beach during Trump’s rally.
The coalition announced the event Thanksgiving morning on Facebook, with 51 people saying by Friday morning that they would attend. The Facebook post features a photo of Trump beside one of Hyde-Smith wearing a Confederate soldier’s hat she donned while visiting Beauvoir in Biloxi in 2014.
The Coliseum is preparing for an overflow crowd. The venue had standing-room only for Trump’s previous visit in January 2016, with around 13,000 attending, Executive Director Matt McDonnell said.
He expects people to be lined up on the sidewalk and on U.S. 90 when gates open at 8 a.m. Monday. The doors to the Coliseum, he said, will open by 5 p.m.
Ulrich said he will be opening two hours early Tuesday. Fox & Friends will arrive at 3 a.m. to set up and the cafe will open at 5 a.m., he said.
“I told them we’d open at 4 a.m. if they wanted us to,” Ulrich said. “We’ve got millions of people that watch that show. That’s tons of free advertisement.”
He said plans are for six, five-minute segments from the cafe, featuring interviews with Ulrich and customers.
Of course, he said, those plans could change if Trump “stirs up some craziness on Twitter.” Ulrich is hoping Trump will be tired from his whirlwind trip to Mississippi and sleep in.
If you go
President Donald Trump will hold a rally beginning at 8 p.m. Monday at the Coast Coliseum in Biloxi.
8 a.m., gate opens.
5 p.m., doors open.
Weapons prohibited, including firearms, knives and pocket knives — even on keychains. Attendees with conceal-carry permits will also be prohibited from bringing weapons into the Coliseum.
Tickets are available online.